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Conqueror - Madame Zelle CD (album) cover

MADAME ZELLE

Conqueror

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.36 | 34 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars New release by this band from Sicily. Like their previous CD 74 Giorni, this is a concept album of sorts. This time they decided to tell the story of the famous dutch female spy Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida Zelle), also known as Madame Zelle. And they were quite succesful again. The core of the band members (drummer Natale Russo, keyboardist and singer Simona Rigano, both founder members, plus Simona´s sister Sabrina on flute and sax) remains the same, but there are newcomers on guitar amd bass. Both of whom do a very good job here, specially bassist Gianluca Villa.

Madame Zelle shows how much this group have grown through the years. Although Simona Rigano´s style of singing is still quite typical italian, the instrumental side is leaning slightly more towards international prog music, with additions of eastern rhythms, jazzy passages and even some bossa nova bits here and there. The songs are all good, showing how much this group knows how to write great melodic tunes without being simplistic and/or falling into easy traps. Some reviewers here see their music as too mellow and not really challeging. Well, I had this impression at first, but after some spins I started to discover the great musicanship and the elaborated and tasteful arrangements hidden behind the fine tapestry of sounds they made.

It took me some time to fully appreciate this work, as most of the good prog records do. Some parts are very well done and complicated, but it is so subtle and connected to the simple melodies, you can easily mistake it for lighter stuff. And anyone who had ever tried to write memorable tunes know how hard it is to do just that. And certainly Conqueror has all plenty of talent for that, for there is not a single wasted note or filler in the entire CD. Simona Rigano has a beautiful voice but is also a skillful keyboard player (lots of vintage sounds!). I loved Russo´s drumming too: the guy is simply brilliant. The rest of the band is not far behind (new guitarrist Mario Pollino is very good, and I hope he gets the chance to show off a little more of his solos in future releases). The production is also top notch, with all the instruments and vocals very well balanced.

Highlight of the CD: the closing track, Ad Occhi Alti, really beautiful. Simona never sang better and with such emotion. Great guitar solo and moving instrumental parts.

Conclusion: another winner from this fine band. Conqueror is indeed conquering their place in prog music history surpassing themselves with each release. If you like melodic prog music with lots of 70´s references you cannot miss this one. Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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